In the News: Children and young people with mental health problems waiting up to 18 months before they get help, finds report.

Investigators find youngsters are facing ‘agonising waits’ for treatment.

The Government has been accused of “neglecting” children’s mental health after it emerged some youngsters are waiting more than a year to be treated.

A major review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of mental health services for young people has found that vulnerable children are facing “agonising waits” for treatment, with one young person who spoke to investigators waiting for 18 months.

During prolonged waits, children and young people are unable to access the support they need, causing their mental health to deteriorate further, with some starting to self-harm, become suicidal or drop out of school during the wait to receive support, the report found.

The findings also showed that even when children do access treatment, the services were not always adequate to respond to their needs, with more than a third (39 per cent) of specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across the UK currently requiring improvement.

There is also regional variation in the estimated prevalence of mental health problems in children and young people, with an estimated 8 per cent of children aged 5 to 16 years old in the Thames Valley area suffering from a mental health condition, compared with 11 per cent in London, investigators found.

The report has prompted calls for the Government to ring-fence mental health budgets so that money reaches front line services and to set maximum waiting times.

Responding to the findings, Barbara Keeley MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, said: “This report reveals the Tory Government’s abject failure of children and young people in urgent need of mental health treatment.

“It is a scandal that as a result of the Tories’ neglect of child and adolescent mental health over a third of services need to improve access, with some children having to wait as long as eighteen months to be treated.

“Labour will continue to call on the Tory Government to invest in and ring-fence mental health budgets as Labour pledged at the General Election, so that money reaches the underfunded services on the front line.”

Former Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb echoed her concerns, saying: “If the current Government had shown leadership in driving these changes and ensuring that funding was being spent where it was needed, we might have seen more progress.

“The Prime Minister makes all the right noises about improving mental health care, now she needs to translate these words into action. Children deserve better.”

The report comes as child mental health charities and campaigners warned that young people are not receiving adequate mental health provision.

Recent research by the Children’s Society’s found that 30,000 children were being turned away from mental health services every year and not receiving any support or treatment at all.

It also found that children missed 157,000 mental health appointments last year, with many missed appointments never followed up by health professionals to check that the children concerned were safe and well.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society, said in response to the CQC report: “Despite increased attention and investment, services remain fragmented and are increasingly overstretched, and too many children are suffering as a result.

 

Read the full article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mental-health-children-waiting-times-18-months-care-quality-commission-report-a8021941.html

Raising life saving funds through laughter

The team at Harmless are so grateful for the support of Jack, who will be fundraising for us. Jack is hosting a comedy night in Leeds in honor of the tragic death of his friend Ciera. Please take a moment to read the blog below, written by Jack.

Link to event: https://www.facebook.com/events/378058449292414/

Details:
The Pit, 9 Merrion Street, Leeds, LS1 6PQ
23rd November 19:30-23:30

I met Ciera at 11 years old when we first started high school. I remember thinking at this age she was kind of odd but funny and unbelievably intelligent. We grew closer over the following year when I started to question my sexuality and didn’t feel comfortable in a group of all boys. We formed a strong group of friends, we always thought of ourselves as the outsiders. We were a smart group, with artsy types and high achievers. Ciera encompassed everything that made our group special; she had brains, she could play multiple instruments, she could sing, she was interested in literature, film, videogames, science and was just a generally the loveliest human being.

But Ciera – like so many – had mental health problems. I’m not exactly sure when they started, but I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t on some sort of anti-depressant. She also self-harmed throughout school. She had ups and downs but sadly in the summer of last year Ciera was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Harrogate and it was here she entered a war with herself, a war she wouldn’t overcome.

On November 17th 2016 I received the news that Ciera had taken her own life.

It took me months to pull myself together after this news, Ciera was like a sister to me. I miss her so much I often can’t think about it too hard as It just upsets me. But one thing that sticks with me that she always tried get me to do, was follow up on my creative influences. A month before she passed away we met up and chatting about everything from our families to our beautiful cats and one thing I said I wanted to attempt was stand-up comedy. To some this might have sounded like it came from nowhere, but I wrote comedy screenplays in university and received acclaim from everyone. However, trying to get short films and televisions from the page to screen is a near impossible task. So I floated the idea of stand-up to fill the void of a creative outlet and Ciera told me to just do it! Well you know what Ciera, I bloody did!

 I had my first gig following a comedy course through Laugh at Leeds in August. It didn’t go great but the bits that did gave me the taste for it. Dissatisfied with the lack of open mic nights in Leeds for newcomers I set up my own night at my former place of employment The Pit in Leeds City Centre. The Pit were a little reluctant to try it as it had never been tried before in the company. However, they said if I managed to get around 30 people in the audience I could make it a monthly event. We got almost double that for the first night, despite awful lighting and sound issues.

So here we are almost exactly a year since we lost my dear friend and The Pit Comedy Club will return on Thursday 23rd November. Though it’s still a night with free entry for new comedians and established acts trying new material; I will be trying to raise funds for the charity Harmless, the charity picked by Ciera’s family on her funeral. I think there’s something quite poetic about raising money for a charity dedicated to helping those that self-harm with fun and laughter. I wish Ciera could be here to laugh obnoxiously along with us, she wasn’t one for being the centre of attention but I think she would be happy that her tragic passing might go towards helping others going through what she went through. I hope people in Leeds will absolutely pack out The Pit on the 23rd November, so we can raise loads of money.

 I will be compering as my Drag Queen alter ego Laura Cruise and we have some keen and brilliant acts that will entertain the masses and help us deliver the best Pit Comedy Club we have had so far.

In the media: How shame can take a toll on your emotional health

The June 2015 cover of Women’s Health magazine featured a slender Gwyneth Paltrow and the words “BIKINI BODY In 2 Weeks! Tight Butt, Lean Legs, These Abs!” with an arrow pointing to Paltrow’s washboard middle. Covers like these have drawn their share of criticism. The idiom “bikini body” suggests there is only one kind of person who can fit into a bikini. It’s an example of body shaming.

That term can be imprecise. What exactly is shame anyway? And can we cope with it?

Author and academic Jennifer Jacquet defines the concept in her book “Is Shame Necessary?”: “Shaming, which is separate from feeling ashamed, is a form of punishment, and like all punishment, it is used to enforce norms.”

Stray from society’s expectations and risk being shamed. Jacquet notes that shame differs from guilt because, in “contrast to shame, which aims to hold individuals to the group standard, guilt’s role is to hold individuals to their own standards.” Sometimes shame can be healthy. Sometimes it can be harmful. Its value is a function of the norm being enforced.

If we demean a friend, it is reasonable for us to feel ashamed—we violated the norm of decency. As psychologist Brené Brown said in a TED talk, “We’re pretty sure that the only people who don’t experience shame are people who have no capacity for connection or empathy.”

Shame becomes harmful if it’s used to enforce an unhealthy norm, and there is no shortage of unhealthy norms. Type, “I feel ashamed of my” into Google, and the search engine will autocomplete with “body,” “job,” “past,” or “sexuality.”

Brown explained that unhealthy norms tend to be gendered—to conform to female norms, she said, women must be “nice, thin, modest, and use all available resources for appearance.” For men, it’s more simple: avoid acting weak. Men are expected to control their emotions, prioritize work, and pursue status. We are prone to feeling ashamed when we stray from these norms.

Shame can be most harmful when it becomes internalized; when it shifts from being about what we’ve done to being about who we are. Psychologists refer to “toxic shame.” as the feeling that we are wholly inadequate and fundamentally unworthy of love. [Editor’s note: when I feel like this, I turn to the Self-Esteem pack. It helps.]

Toxic shame can take a huge toll on our emotional health. “Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders,” Brown says. The antidote to feeling shame is a willingness to be vulnerable, Brown says. To be human is to be imperfect— to have scars and stretch marks, and to cry when sad or afraid.

Brown suggests we seek the empathy of friends and loved ones. “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment,” she explains. “If you put the same amount in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” Importantly, people also can work to change harmful norms. In a 2015 online survey, Women’s Health asked readers what words or phrases they might avoid printing on the magazine’s cover. Options included “slim,” “lean,” and “bikini body.” Respondents overwhelmingly objected to “bikini body.”

In a sense, readers chose to enforce a new norm. In their determination, the magazine should encourage health, fitness, and a positive body image. Wrote one reader, “I hate how women’s magazines emphasize being skinny or wearing bikinis as the reason to be healthy.”

In an open letter responding to the survey, editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird said the term “bikini body” would be banned from the magazine’s cover. “Dear ‘Bikini Body,’” she wrote. “You’re actually a misnomer, not to mention an unintentional insult: You imply that a body must be a certain size in order to wear a two-piece. Any body—every body—is a bikini body.”

Link to full blog: https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/11/02/shame-emotional-health/

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Dr Alys Cole-King

BOOK NOW


Alys Cole-King is a Consultant Liason Psychiatrist who maintains a clinical and public health role within the NHS. She works nationally with Royal Colleges, voluntary bodies, academics, and experts by experience to raise awareness of suicide and self-harm. She promotes the need for compassion, collaboration, improved governance and promotes a common language to ensure an improved and more integrated response to people at risk of suicide. A contributor to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention, Alys is also on the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Mental Health Training Advisory Group, and has contributed to their curriculum. Alys leads international campaigns via social media and works with the media to ensure a compassionate and safe approach to suicide prevention.

As Connecting with People Clinical Director, Alys led the development of Connecting with People’s Suicide Assessment Framework E-Tool (SAFETool). This approach is based on more than 20 years clinical experience, a thorough review of published evidence and a full time research project using psychological autopsy technique to investigate factors relating to episodes of self-harm or suicide attempts. Alys is a primary author of a number of papers, book chapters, webinars, podcasts, blogs and self-help resources on suicide and self-harm prevention, Alys has also contributed to the RCGP e-learning module on suicide prevention and delivered a BMJ Masterclass Webinar on suicide mitigation. Alys sits on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Compassionate Health Care, is a reviewer for several journals and sits on the international Expert Reference group advising Griffiths University academics, a WHO Collaborating Centre on responding to professionals who have experienced the suicide of a patient.

 

From Harm to Hope Conference: 

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide.

BOOK NOW

Lest we forget

The story of the poppy

During the First World War (1914–1918) much of the fighting took place in
Western Europe. Previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and
fought over, again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud:
bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.
Bright red Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas) however, were delicate but resilient
flowers and grew in their thousands, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and
destruction. In early May 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian
doctor, Lt Col John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies to write a now
famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

The dates for the *NEW* catch up café are here!

At harmless and The Tomorrow Project, we have created a warm, welcoming and encouraging environment for our clients to come and chat amongst each other, along with our friendly staff.

The cafes are aimed at those 18+. Our staff will be on hand to provide information on how our service can support you and those you know.

These Catch up Cafes will be the first to be held in the new Harmless HQ.

Please head to Harmless events to see what else we have going on!

http://www.harmless.org.uk/whoWeAre/events

We will remember them

Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, we remember and mark the end of the First World War in 1918, paying tribute to those who have fallen in their line of duty.

The Sunday closest to Remembrance Day is known as Remembrance Sunday where men, women and children all across Britain hold and attend ceremonies to remember the millions who have died at war.
The First World War’s hostilities formally ended at 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th Month in accordance with the armistice signed by allies and German representatives.
The United Kingdom marks this time with a two minute silence. On the 11/11 many people across the UK will be pausing in our day to day tasks and at 11am will be joined in silence, pausing to remember those who were so brave.

Send a card, Save a life!

Harmless’ Christmas Cards are now on sale!

Help support vital self harm and suicide prevention services by sending a festive card this holiday season!

Premium quality cards come in packs of 8 with 2 designs and self seal envelopes.

£4 per pack

All the money raised will go directly towards supporting the ongoing work of Harmless and The Tomorrow Project and saving lives.

Buy yours in our online store: www.harmless.org.uk/store/Christmas-cards 

In the news: The rise of mental health in hip-hop lyrics

Hip-hop is having a watershed moment for mental health. In the last two years, some of the biggest rappers have peeled back the curtain on their personal lives to shine a light on their struggles with mental health issues.

Take Kanye West’s album “The Life of Pablo”, where he mentions both seeing a psychiatrist and taking Lexapro, an antidepressant used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Or Kid Cudi, who publicly announced he’d checked into rehab for depression and suicidal urges, writing that “anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it.” Even rap veteran Jay-Z has advocated the importance of therapy in recent months.

In the midst of hip-hop’s dive into mental health awareness, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many mainstream artists have also opened up about practicing meditation. Big Sean, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, and Drake, to name a few, have credited meditation as impacting areas of their lives and creative output. And, of course, Def Jam Recordings label founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons attribute much of their success to meditation.

“[T]he person I am was shaped by the experience of the years of meditation,” says Rubin, who produced albums for everyone from Beastie Boys to Kanye. “I feel like I can see deeply into things in a way that many of the people around me don’t, or can’t.”

“Meditation is a guaranteed way to not only dip into, but stay connected with, your creative spirit,” echoes Simmons. “People have this misconception that meditation will chill you out and make you soft, but the opposite is true. I meditate every morning when I wake up and almost the second my session is over I’m eager to tackle whatever is on my plate for that day.”

But perhaps the rap game’s biggest meditation advocate is one that currently holds the title as Greatest Rapper Alive: Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick has plugged meditation on four (!) of his tracks. Take these lyrics from “untitled 03 | 05.28.2013”:

Meditation is a must, it don’t hurt if you try
See you thinking too much, plus you too full of yourself
Worried about your career, you ever think of your health?

In a 2016 interview for GQ Style, Kendrick elaborates on his meditation routine:

“I have to have at least 30 minutes to myself,” he says. “If it’s not on the daily, every other day, to just sit back, close my eyes, and absorb what’s going on. You know, the space that I’m in [and] how I’m feeling at the moment.”

Kendrick cites the frenetic busyness of his career as a motivator to practice being more present. “When you in music—and everybody knows this—the years are always cut in half, because you always have something to do,” he says. “It just goes and then you miss out on your moment because you’re so in the moment you didn’t know the moment was going on.”

After realizing that music was consuming his thoughts and attention, Kendrick turned to meditation for time and space away from his work: “That 30 minutes helps me to totally zone out and not think about my next lyric. You know? It gives me a re-start, a jump start, a refresh. It lets me know why I’m here, doing what I’m doing.”

Competition is ingrained in hip-hop’s DNA; there’s tremendous pressure to claim the “best rapper alive” throne by breaking the mold on verbal gymnastics, pushing artistic boundaries, and resonating with audiences through culture and emotion. Slap on deadlines from record labels, plus scrutiny and sensationalism from the public eye—it’s a paralyzing weight for anyone to endure.

“There’s a great deal of bullshit that people think about when they make music, things that don’t matter,” Rubin says. “[Meditation] kind of wipes that away, and you focus on the real job at hand, as opposed to thinking about what the management wants, or what the record company’s saying, or what somebody at a radio station might think.”

While the dusty notion that hip-hop is all about cars, money, and clothes may still ring true for certain acts, there’s no denying that the genre has evolved. By unmasking both the stigmas attached to mental health issues and stereotypes about meditation, the rap game is well set up for a healthier and happier road ahead—for artists and fans alike.

Link to full blog here: https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/10/13/mental-health-hip-hop/

Pamper and shopping evening on Monday

It’s your last few days to get tickets to our pamper and shopping evening being held at The Three Horse Shoes in East Leake on Monday evening. 

A bit of pre-Christmas shopping, a bit of time to yourself and a glass of prosecco on arrival, all while raising money for us… what more could you want?

Tickets are only £5.

Give us a shout if you want to join us!